Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Summer Family Vacation

Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)I think it goes without saying that a resort trip always sounds like a good idea, but it might not be as obvious that resort trips can be an awesome–and affordable–family summer vacation.

Now, I know you’re thinking that summer isn’t the right time to go to the Caribbean, because it will be hot and humid. However, summer might actually be the smartest time to go.

A couple years ago, my entire extended family went to a resort in Cancun, Mexico, for my sister’s wedding. It was a perfect location, since so many family members had to travel anyway–including family from England. My sister and her then-fiance (now husband) figured that we all had to fly somewhere, why not have us all fly someplace beautiful? It was brilliant, and we all have amazing memories of that trip.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Hard Rock Hotel, an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, but this time on my own. As part of a public relations initiative, I was invited to visit and tour the resort, and see the kinds of amenities they offer to families. Would I like to come tour your resort and have a four-day break to myself in which to swim, drink piña coladas, and sleep through the night? Why, yes. Yes, I would.

While the trip was paid for by Hard Rock, the thoughts and opinions I’m expressing are my own, and are based on not just this trip, but the trip our family took a couple years ago, and trips that some of my friends have taken recently. I will say that in all honesty, I fell in love with the Hard Rock brand. It’s an especially great choice for families: plenty to do for even the littlest kids, but still cool enough to be thrilling to a teenager.

The upshot of all this is that if you do, in fact, have some money set aside for a family vacation, you should definitely check out the current prices to see if a resort trip is in your budget. It’s way cheaper to go to the Caribbean in the summer, and you may just find out that you can afford to be fancier than you think.

  • Not to mention, you deserve it. 1 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    Click the arrows to scroll through ten brilliant reasons (besides the obvious reason that you totally deserve it!) a resort trip is a smart choice for a summer family vacation.

  • 1. It’s hot and humid at home, too, but nobody’s bringing you a pina colada. 2 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    I know it seems like summer wouldn't be the time to go to the Caribbean. It's hot! It's humid! But guess what? It's hot and humid at home, too, but nobody's bringing me a piña colada. 

    Just like in the U.S., there is increased rain in the summer in places like Cancun, although the rainfall drops off a bit in July and August. (September and October are the wettest months.) Usually the rain comes in the form of a strong, short afternoon thunderstorms, says USA Today. However, because hurricane runs from May to October, smart travelers should consider purchasing travel insurance, in case you need to cancel or reschedule a trip due to a hurricane forecast.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 2. Because the Jersey Shore doesn’t look like this. 3 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    I live near Philadelphia, which means my closest beach is the Jersey Shore. Not the part of it with Snooki, but the beautiful coast of southern New Jersey. I love it there. I got married at Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island. But no matter how beautiful I think the Atlantic Ocean can be, it simply does not compare with the turquoise water of the Caribbean. The water is warm enough that you can get it in it without sucking in your breath, and the sand is clean, white, and free of the sharp rocks and shells that make your kids cry.

    By the way, this was the view from my hotel room balcony.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 3. Summer deals mean you might actually be able to afford this level of fancy 4 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    This is probably the most important reason a resort trip might be a smart family summer vacation: summer pricing. Because summer is a slow season for resorts, the deals are unbeatable. It will always be cheaper to go to a resort in July or August than it will be in January or February. Case in point: Hard Rock Hotel prices are not only discounted in the summer, but some deals allow kids under 12 to stay for free.

    What level of fanciness are we talking about? My suite at Hard Rock was bigger than the downstairs of my house. (Also, much, much cleaner.) Clockwise from top left, these photos show my fancy-pants bedroom, with a giant Jacuzzi overlooking the sea; a separate living room/dining room area; another view of the living room/dining room; and what Hard Rock thinks of as a "mini-bar": full-size top-shelf liquor dispensers built into a cabinet in my room.

    Sadly, I no longer have much tolerance for alcohol, to the point that one drink pretty much means naptime for me, so I didn't really take advantage of the so-called "mini-bar." Too clarify, yes, you can lock the liquor cabinet. Also, if you book a suite with a room for your kids, their room won't have the mini-bar, and the fridge will be stocked with juice boxes and chocolate milk.

    (Photo Credits: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 4. It’s not crowded. 5 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons A Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    Unlike the Caribbean in winter, and unlike every single U.S. beach in the summer, it's not crowded in the Carribean in winter. When I stayed at Hard Rock Cancun at the end of May, it was always easy to find an empty lounge chair on the beach, and there were times when I just about had the water to myself. However, even though there aren't as many visitors, the beach and pools were still fully staffed with lifeguards and waitstaff. 

    Because I am a huge dork, I took this selfie on the beach to illustrate that the turquoise streak in my hair matched both the water and my surf shirt. (This is as close as I can get to coordinating any kind of fashion.) More importantly, notice that there's only like four other people at the beach with me.


    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 5. The pool isn’t crowded. 6 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    Because my kids and I are so fair-skinned, we tend to do indoor activities during the sunniest part of the day and swim in the late afternoon and after dinner. (This is true no matter where we are in the summer.) Here's what the pool at Hard Rock Cancun looked like just before sunset. In the whole pool, there were maybe five families. 

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 6. In fact, this is the most "crowded" I ever saw the beach and pool. 7 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Summer Family Vacation (via Babble)

    Here's another view from my hotel room balcony, this one overlooking the pool. This is absolutely the most crowded I saw the pool, and it's still nothing like the sardine-can environment of my local swim club, which is so packed with kids that you can't actually, you know, swim. Likewise, the beach is at it's most crowded in this photo. The small cluster of people on the far right are headed out for parasailing.

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 7. Kids’ Club areas are fully staffed and equipped, just not chock-full of kids. 8 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    I visited the Kids' Club area at Hard Rock Cancun several times, but I didn't want to take photos because frankly, how creepy would that be for me to be skulking around, with no kids of my own there, taking pictures of other people's happy kids? So this is one of Hard Rock's photos. The Kids' Club was never crowded, but always fully staffed, and fully equipped. The kids got tons of one-on-one attention from staff, didn't have to wait to use anything, and really got to interact with costumed visiting characters like Angelina Ballerina and Barney.

    I should note that one thing I really, really liked about the Hard Rock resort is that the kids' area is really a family area. The resort we stayed in for my sister's wedding didn't allow parents into the kids' area, which we didn't like. When I take a family vacation, I'm not looking to dump my kids in a babysitting area. I actually (gasp) want to spend time with my kids. I loved that the Kids' Club here was staffed, but also welcomed parents to come in and play in the brightly-lit, kid-friendly, and well-air conditioned space. There was also a separate kids' pool and mini splash-park in this area for kids and their families to enjoy.

    (Photo Credit: Hard Rock Hotel Cancun)

  • 9. In a foreign country, your teenagers *might* not be embarrassed to be seen with you. 9 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation

    Yes, yes, the language and culture is all delightful. But one of the other advantages that isn't often discussed is that unlike at your local swim club, your teenagers might actually want to hang out with you once they've determined that no one from school is also staying at your hotel. Not surprisingly, there's something rather socially freeing about being 1,000 miles away from your high school.

    Sure, a good resort is going to have plenty of teen-appropriate activities for teens to do on their own, but the whole point of a family vacation is spending time together.  I saw plenty of teenagers just hanging out at the pool, the beach, and in the restaurants with their parents and younger siblings, and having a blast.

    When we went to Cancun for my sister's wedding, there were tons of attractions for my super-cool British nephews. But in between playing soccer with some other kids they'd met and scoping out American teenage girls, they still made time to hang with their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

    (Photo Credit: Hard Rock Hotel Cancun)

  • 8. You’ll find all kinds of surprising cultural lessons. 10 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    There are tons of advantages to traveling to foreign countries with your kids. Even in a resort setting, they're going to be exposed to culture, plenty of local food and art, and definitely to people who speak multiple languages.

    My high school Spanish came flooding back to me, and although the entire staff was bilingual, I was able to converse entirely in Spanish with the staff. By the end of the trip we took two years ago, my four-year-old daughter was playing in Spanish--making her stuffed animals converse in Spanish. 

    There are also surprising cultural finds, depending on where you stay: Because every Hard Rock Hotel is also a self-contained museum, you're also going to expose your kids to a whole bunch of rock history. On display were a drum set played in concert by Led Zeppelin's John Bonham, a guitar signed by Ozzy Osbourne (inscribed "stay sober!"), and outfits worn by Madonna, Katy Perry, Prince, Snoop Dogg, and James Brown, among others. My favorite was this ensemble worn by the always funkadelic George Clinton. (George Clinton totally stole this look from my husband, by the way.)

    (Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

  • 10. It’s still doable even if you suck at planning. 11 of 11
    Top 10 Reasons a Resort Trip Is a Smart Family Summer Vacation (via Babble)

    If you want to visit a resort during the winter, you should have already booked it. Same goes for if you wanted to rent a beach house this summer. They're all gone, my friends. Yeah, even that one shack with the rickety porch and the alarming smell.

    Resort vacations, on the other hand, can still be booked. 

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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